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Kansas - Leftoverture CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.22 | 1014 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Lefotverture is the first of the two studio magnum opuses by Kansas - this album recaptures the powerful majesty of the Song for America album and capitalizes with the sort of energy that had been worked on in the less impressive Masque. The element of inspired writing appears on a top-notch stance (it is only a coincidence that Steve Walsh was undergoing a dry spell phase while Kerry Livgren was delivering his full potential); the fact that the writing will remain equally powerful in their next studio effort proves that the 76-78 era was the band's absolute pinnacle. The album kicks off on a catchy mood with 'Carry On Wayward Son', one of the most celebrated 70s rock anthems in teh history of USA's rock. Even though this track may sound similar in mood to the standards that were elaborated at the time by Boston, this particular track showcases a bigger dose of melodic cleverness and elaborated arrangements through the tightly ordained varying motifs - this extra complexity is controlled enough as not to kill the melodic basis' undisputed catchiness. 'The Wall' settles in next to expose yet another example of the symphonic essence that palyed such a big role in the evolution and golden age of Kansas: this beautiful progressive ballad displays a link to Procol Harum and Yes thanks to the emotional guitar leads and the elegant keyboard layers pertinetly augmented by Steinhardt's violin lines. This tale of mystical introspection is moving and majestic in pure Kansas-style, all the way toward its delicious anthemic finale. Track 3 is the least complex in the flock, although it bears an interesting set of chord progressions in the interlude as a resource of natural sophistication: the heavy GFR accent keeps it in a mainstream level. In contrast, 'Miracles Out of Nowhere' brings one of the most consciously prog-driven pages in Kansas' histtory - everything from the stylish intro to the solemn sung parts and from the GG-inspired interlude to the bombastic climax works as a unified whole of progressive grandeur. With less pomposity but similar prog depth comes 'Opus Insert', the track that opened up the vinyl edition's side 2: the bolero intermission (vibes included) and the spacey closure bear unhidden influences from teh chamber side of symphonic prog. 'Questions of My Childhood', dominantly penned by Walsh, brings an air of proggied country-rock: Walsh has written a number of tracks with this framework, and this one is arguably the most successful at it. A special mention goes to Steinhardt's violin deliveries, which create a perfect set of American Western colors to the mood demanded by the track. 'Cheyenne Anthem' brings back the majestic melancholy that had first appeared in 'Miracles Out of Nowhere' in combination with the solemnity of 'The Wall': the colorful interlude and the fluid succession of the sung portions state the perfect anticipation for the fantastic coda. At his point, the album has reached a captivating climax, but the top achievement of the album is incapsulated in its final 8+ minutes - this is where 'Magnum Opus' settles in to moe the listener's jaw down to the floor. The succession of motifs is set up beautifully: the psychedelic drive of the opening section, the ELP-meets-LZ high spirit of sections c and e, the eerie vibes that lead the way through section d and the fabulous spectrum delivered in the short yet effective coda bring some of the best North American prog rock ever. Even though this track's definitive version appears on the Two for the Show live set, this one works as the perfect ending for this prog masterpiece.
Cesar Inca | 5/5 |


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